"I am honored to call you my son... By another mother, if you know what I mean?"
Simeon Yetarian to the male online player.

In Grand Theft Auto Online, the protagonist is a player-created character, with highly customizable traits.

The character can be created according to the taste of the player, who is able to choose the character's name, age, gender, physical appearance, nationality and grandparents (who can affect their appearance) as well as alter the character's daily lifestyle choices, such as time spent sleeping and exercising; this creates the initial stats for the character and can slightly change their appearance.



Very little is known about the player's background, other than that they met Lamar Davis on Lifeinvader and took a flight to Los Santos, presumably just to take part in a street race in Vinewood organized by Lamar. The player does not return to their old home, staying in Los Santos.

Events of GTA Online

The player is first seen in the initial cinematic tutorial of Grand Theft Auto Online, and meets Lamar Davis when he picks the player up after their arrival in Los Santos from the airport. The two had met on Lifeinvader and became close friends.

They enter Lamar's Emperor, where he gives the player a pistol and welcomes them to the city. If the character is female, a different cutscene is shown where Lamar will try to hit on the protagonist but fails. Lamar drives the player to a Vinewood parking lot, where they begin to race, potentially with other players competing. Regardless of who wins the race, Lamar sees further potential in the character and introduces them to Gerald, a drug runner living in Davis. Gerald immediately employs the character by asking them to ambush a deal between the Ballas and the Vagos and return the product to him.

GTA Online: Heists Update

Main article: Heists Update

Lester Crest will eventually contact the player character if they purchase a high-end Apartment and get enough reputation. Lester will introduce the player to various heists that are given by different contacts, such as a drug dealer and a government agent. The player is required to form a team of two or four players for each heist in order to progress through them. The team is hired to perform various tasks, such as breaking a prisoner out of jail or helping finance a drug startup and even robbing one of the biggest banks of USA.

GTA Online: Lowriders

Main article: GTA Online: Lowriders

After gaining enough reputation, Lamar will introduce the player to Benny and hire them to help him rise to power in southern Los Santos. Lamar employs the player to sabotage rival gangs, for example hiring them to crash a Vagos funeral or perform drive-bys on the street. However, continued failures to achieve Lamar's original plans lead him to step down from his attempt to take control of the area.

GTA Online: Executives and Other Criminals

After gaining at least $50,000, the player character is able to create and manage their own Organization. Organizations are run through the SecuroServ network and are created by players in Free Mode. They then have multiple options from which to choose, such as hiring and firing other players as bodyguards. These bodyguards then work for the player and help them to generate an income from the organization, through various tasks including recovering impounded vehicles from the police and retrieving packages across the state.

GTA Online: Further Adventures in Finance and Felony

The player character is eventually allowed to purchase an Office, which allows them to permanently access their Organization and introduces them to the Executive Assistant. The player can further expand their criminal empire by buying, storing, and selling coveted contraband including jewelry, counterfeit goods, and medical supplies.

GTA Online: Bikers

Main article: GTA Online: Bikers

Similar to Offices, the player is eventually allowed to purchase a Biker Clubhouse, which allows them to run their own Motorcycle Club as a President. When the player first enters their Clubhouse, they are introduced to Malc, who helps the player set up their Motorcycle Club. The player's Club, similar to Organizations, can create profit by running odd jobs and managing Businesses that create narcotics and counterfeit goods. The player can hire up to seven additional players and promote them across a hierarchy within the Club.

GTA Online: Import/Export

Import/Export expands on Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, continuing the player's business tycoon hosted by SecuroServ. The player is given the opportunity to purchase Vehicle Warehouses that store stolen vehicles; the player is tasked with stealing, modifying, and selling the vehicle themselves, and can choose to have other player Associates assist them. The player is also able to undergo Special Vehicle Work for SecuroServ that involve the player using highly modified, specialized vehicles to perform various missions.

Events of GTA V

It is unknown what happened to the character by the time Grand Theft Auto V takes place. Lester still seems to be in touch and is implied to still be working with the character, and even considered them for the jewelry store robbery, but claims that "they're too unpredictable".



Grand Theft Auto series
protagonists by Universes

2D Universe

3D Universe

HD Universe

The online player, as shown in cutscenes, seems to be very calm and quiet when dealing with their bosses. They will take on any job as long as they get paid for their services (much like Claude in Grand Theft Auto III). They are known to keep their cool and are almost impossible to intimidate. This is best shown when the player first meets Trevor Philips, who initially comes nose to nose with the Online Player and the Player shows no sign of backing down from him and is clearly not afraid of Trevor, unlike most other people in the game.

As with many other playable characters with in the GTA universe, the Online Player's psychosis is determinant on the player's actions, and is only evident when killing civilians or other players. This is represented in-game by the player's radar blip, which progressively turns from white to red depending on how psychotic the player is. It can be assumed from this that the character's personality is entirely determined by the player.

It is also slightly implied that the protagonist is a psychopath, as while flying in a helicopter with a Merryweather pilot, he will say "So did you always want to be a psychopath or did it develop slowly?"


The player can choose their parents during character creation, which will affect the player's initial appearance (a loose composite of both parents, with variable influence). There is also a choice of grandparents for each parent (a composite of both grandparents), which affects their appearance, in turn affecting the protagonist's appearance. In addition to generic people to choose as parents, there is also the choice of well-known characters from Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto IV, and the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption, to be used as parents.



  • Misty (Grand Theft Auto III)


Grand Theft Auto Online



  • At the beginning of Grand Theft Auto Online, the player will always spawn in front of a hotel, (unless the spawn location is altered) until they have managed to buy a property.
  • The Online Player's signature color is dark blue as seen in the HUD and UI, similar to Michael's signature color, although it was originally meant to be yellow as seen in the gameplay trailer and the color of the screen flashes when switching to the Online Player. This could also be seen if the player highlights the Online Player in the Character Wheel before a GTA Online patch that changed the color. After the patch, it was changed to dark blue. This also inexplicably changed the colors in the credits sequence during "Prologue" and "Franklin and Lamar".
    • While the Grand Theft Auto V protagonists' light bar colours on the PlayStation 4 controller pertain to each of their own themes, the GTA Online protagonist's light bar can be any random colour, from pink to blue.
      • On the PS4, if the GTA Online protagonist is in a crew, the controller's light bar colour mimics the active crew's colour.
  • The Online Player has some similarities to Claude, the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto III, as they both never (canonically) speak in any of their appearances. In addition, if the player bought the collector's edition of GTA V, Claude is usable as a parent of the Player.
    • The Online Player only makes sound by coughing after using a bong or smoking cigarettes, rarely making injury sounds, breathing heavily during the data extraction cutscene in The Humane Labs Raid Heist and using a rebreather underwater.
  • When a player is disconnected suddenly from an online session, their online character will become a normal pedestrian and will walk towards the nearest pedestrian pathway. If the AI controlled character is approached violently without a firearm, they will either scream or yell and run away, or fight back with their fists, but will invariably run away when a firearm is presented.
    • However, this was changed in a patch; their character model will now vanish instead of acting like a normal pedestrian if no-one is within the immediate vicinity of the disconnected player.
  • In the early weeks of release, there was a glitch in which the character's gender can be swapped out, resulting in a character having a male's head/facial features on a female body, or vice versa.
    • This glitch could also affect the character's race. When showering, the character's original head could disappear and be replaced with a head from someone of another race on their original body.
  • Despite the player being known to use Lifeinvader, they cannot access the Lifeinvader website in-game.
  • The online protagonist uses a mix of animations from Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton, and Trevor Philips. What animation sets are used depends on the activity the player is participating in.
  • In the PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC versions of the game, the character creators system is improved for a more customizable character with options such as eyes, nose, mouth Etc.
    • The general appearance has also changed, with the male protagonists possessing more body and facial hair, and the female protagonists having longer and broader hair. The facial appearance has also changed to look much more realistic, with more tones, features and structure.
  • According to the advanced character customization background, the protagonist is 6' 0" (1.83 m).
  • While in a vehicle with a radio station selected, the player's mood can be seen changing, depending on the song playing. For instance, if a radio advert was playing at the time that the player was staring at their character, the online protagonist can be seen "bored", flicking dust/dirt off their clothes, and glancing around. If a song is playing, the player gradually starts to be become happy and "into" the song; they will start to nod their head at the beginning/end of a song, or when the beat slows down, but rhythmically dance when the song picks up a pace/beat. This feature seems to be synchronized with the song's volume and/or pace. This feature can be seen clearer when turning the hood-camera around to face the player inside their vehicle.
  • In Director Mode, if the player selects their online protagonist and gets damaged, he/she will grunt clearly but will no longer make any noise after it until selected again.
    • Those pain grunts are the same grunts used for other generic NPCs in the game. This is because the GTA Online actor falls in the same class as the other generic NPCs in the mode (thus why they can't use parachutes, unlike the story mode protagonists).
  • The artwork for GTA Online: Executives and Other Criminals, GTA Online: Further Adventures in Finance and Felony and GTA Online: Import/Export all feature the same representation of the GTA Online Protagonist. A man with short hair, notable for the scar across his nose bridge and cheek. However, there is no real way to 100% recreate him in the game, as his hair is not an available option and scars aren't permanent.


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